Come Step Into the Light With Me

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diana trautwein -step into the light3

I love lights, especially strings of lights. I have four long strings, composed of large globes in three colors, strung across the arbor outside the back of our home. Every day at about 5:00 p.m., I turn the switch so that their blue, green and white sparkles can be enjoyed as the evening covers the day.

My sister-in-law gave me a string of lights hidden inside colorful paper umbrellas. I loved that little string so much, I immediately hung it above my baking counter in the kitchen. Just last month, I found a new website that specializes in inexpensive strings of solar-powered white lights. I wove five strands through the low hedges that demarcate the back edge of our property. Every evening, I wait for their twinkling to begin and every evening, I smile as I see them.

Don’t even get me started about Christmas lights, okay? I’ve got bits of light spread all around my house from early December through Epiphany—on the tree, to be sure but also across the mantle, on a smaller counter-top tree, stretched along the top of my china cabinet, and around my front door.

Yeah, I love lights. They make me smile, they lift my spirits, they give me hope when I’m feeling down. They remind me that the darkness does not and cannot win, even when all around me says otherwise.

I want to be a person of light, too. I want to be someone who shines, even in the darkness, who holds on firmly to hope and joy, no matter what set of curve balls are being tossed at my head. I want to be someone who is lit from within, someone who carries light with me into every dark and difficult place life’s journey brings my way.

Sometimes I succeed, other times, not so much. I wrote last month about lament and I sometimes think that I could write about that topic no matter what the theme-of-the-month might happen to be. Life is hard, people get sick and die, relationships fall apart, addiction is real and sometimes deadly. Failure is endemic to the human condition. Our scripture gives us a language for these seasons of sadness.

But.

It is also important and necessary to acknowledge the flip side of that language of lament. It is good to sing songs in a major key, too, and doing so can help us acknowledge the presence of the Light, even in the midst of some dark and scary times.

So today, I want to sing a song in praise of light, to say thank you for the people and places, events and circumstances that have brought light into my life:

For the gift of family—of a long love across a life that has been both wondrous and terrifying, the blessing of commitment above and beyond, the joys of laughter, travel and fun, and for long-term loyalty through the tough stuff, my song begins and ends with you all—husband, children, grandchildren.

For the beauties of the world God gave us, most especially for the grandeur of the town to which we have been called and in which we have been planted, a psalm of praise and thanksgiving.

For the editorial and writing staff of this place, a deep well of gratitude and these words of love: “Keep shining, friends. Send the light out into the world on a wave of words that bring life and hope and challenge.”

For the glimpses of glory I see in deeds of kindness and generosity each and every day—from my husband cleaning up the kitchen after every dinner I cook to the friends who help me feed a few homeless people in the park every quarter.

For quiet friends who crochet or knit beauty in the corner, making prayer shawls and welcome-new-baby blankets by the bushel basket-load, to those with up-front gifts who preach and teach, give witness to love or exhort us to go deeper and love further.

For our parents, whose lives were tablets on which was written a beautiful story of faithfulness, hard work, laughter and love.

For friends who push me to be more and do more, whose lives radiate a commitment to justice, a call to discipleship, an impish sense of wonder and delight, a readiness to pray/weep/laugh/admonish/listen/understand/be silent when needed.

For every kind word, encouragement, invitation, or challenge ever written on a blog post or column of mine, I whisper a heartfelt ‘thank you,’ for shining a little light in my direction.

Where are you finding the light these days, friends? Who or what helps you to sing a song of thanksgiving? Sing a bar or two for me in the comments. Help me celebrate the light.

 

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Diana Trautwein
Married to her college sweetheart for over 40 years, Diana is always wondering about things. She answers to Mom from their three adult kids and spouses and to Nana from their 8 grandkids, ranging in age from 3 to 22. For 17 years, after a mid-life call to ministry, she answered to Pastor Diana in two churches where she served as Associate Pastor. Since retiring at the end of 2010, she spends her time working as a spiritual director and writes on her blog, Just Wondering. For as long as she can remember, Jesus has been central to her story and the church an extension of her family. Not that either church or family is exactly perfect . . . but then, that’s what makes life interesting, right?
Diana Trautwein

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Diana Trautwein
  • I’m positively glowing after reading this anthem to all the light that keeps us whole in our fragmented world. So good to be hearing this from you.

    Today, especially, I’m thankful for the light of family. When I took on this mothering gig almost 24 years ago, I never once dreamed that there would be a day when there would be so many of us (!) or that rowdy laughter would shake the dining room when we gather to celebrate — or that we would be there for each other in such profound ways.

    • pastordt

      I get that!! Who knew it would keep growing so wonderfully?? Family is gift number one.

  • Helene Burns

    How beautiful Diana… I am so thankful for you and your encouraging voice. Xx

    • pastordt

      Thank you, friend.

  • I love this. One of the things we’re learning to celebrate more is Epiphany. We put away all of our Christmas decorations–except the lights. We keep them up on the tree, outside, around the house, and continue to light the Jesus candle from our Advent wreath. In the darkest part of winter, I love being reminded of the Light. Definitely something that can be remembered year-round…

  • pastordt

    What a lovely idea, Annie!

  • Sandy Hay

    “For friends who push me to be more and do more, whose lives radiate a commitment to justice, a call to discipleship, an impish sense of wonder and delight, a readiness to pray/weep/laugh/admonish/listen/understand/be silent when needed.” I marvel at how I’ve been pushed… in a good way…since I went to RiseUpSister in February. Who would guess I’d buy a theology book! And dig and delve into scripture at a depth way deeper then ever before. And all this horseback riding with my 12 year old granddaughter!

    • pastordt

      You’re amazing, Sandy!! Good for you!

  • Beautiful…..your marvelous light.

    • pastordt

      You’re kind, Debby. Thanks for these words and your share today.

  • So beautifully written. As we near the holiday season, there is so much to be thankful for. Often times the vanity of life seems to hide that little ray of light, but you are right in what you said “I want to be a person of light.”

    • pastordt

      Thanks so much for reading and commenting, Alina – sorry I missed this comment earlier!